A Balanced Diet

Riley the cabbage man was small and stringy.   He had a helmet of dark hair combed over his forehead to hide his baldness.   He was cheap and he forced his family to eat cabbage and nothing else.   His wife, Angelina, dreamed of welsh rabbit.   She was very thin and her skin was like tissue paper.  She dreamed of chicken and dumplings.   Moops, the couple’s son, hated cabbage but there was nothing else to eat.   Moops, who was fourteen, made the best of a bad situation – he was a smart boy.   Moops helped his mom create interesting ways to serve cabbage.   Stuffed cabbage was a favorite, but it could only be stuffed with more cabbage because Riley would not allow anything else into the kitchen.   Moops and Angelina dreamed of various meats that could be stuffed into a cabbage.   Angelina was always tired from lack of nourishment.  Moops was beginning to turn green.   Riley would have none of it.    The cabbage man stomped his feet and threatened to throw his family into the street if they didn’t stop demanding different food.   He was a cruel man, but he couldn’t stop the  changes that were taking place in his wife and son.   Riley didn’t understand because he never changed.  He could not comprehend that his wife and son needed a more varied diet.   They were always hungry.  Riley, of course, cheated.   He spent his lunch hour in a saloon drinking beer and eating all kinds of snack foods.   He was never hungry.   On top of that, he genuinely loved to eat cabbage so it was never a hardship whenever he came home to eat.  Mother and son braised cabbage, fried it in a pan, broiled it, baked it in a pot, and boiled it – but after awhile it always tasted the same.  The house always smelled of cabbage which was not pleasant.   Riley didn’t mind because he worked in a slaughter house that was always filled with unpleasant odors.  In the end there had to be a trial.   Angelina and Moops swore the cabbage made them do it.   They swore it was the smell that drove them to it.   It was the wretched taste that was responsible because they tried so hard to improve it.  At the end of the month when Riley came home drunk as usual, mother and son had a truly tasty dinner.  They made a breakthrough with their best recipe, stuffed cabbage.   The new recipe was far more nutritious and filled with meat – and Riley would no longer be around to complain.

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